TSA seizes record number of firearms in 2014; 83 percent loaded
When packing your carry-on luggage, don’t forget to remove your gun.
Unless you’ve got permission, not remembering could get you in trouble.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration seized a record 2,212 firearms from carry-on luggage in 2014, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported Friday.
That’s more than the TSA has seized in any other year of its existence, and it’s a 22 percent increase from the 1,813 guns seized in 2013. (The agency actually hit a record 2,000 seizures on December 1, before the year was over.)
That’s an average of six guns per day.
Of those discovered, 83 percent were loaded.
The department’s employees “stand on the front lines protecting our nation from dangerous contraband and people, while ensuring the free flow of lawful trade and commerce — just two aspects of our mission,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a news release.
“This is critically important work, and our employees’ achievements are self-evident: in 2014, the TSA screened more than 650 million passengers, nearly 1.8 million each and every day,” Johnson said.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport security seized the most guns last year, with 120. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport came in second place with 109 gun seizures, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport came in third place with 78 gun seizures.
Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport had 77 gun seizures, while Denver International Airport had 70.
Forgetting can be expensive and even criminal.
Passengers whose guns are spotted by TSA security during the screening process can be arrested by airport or local police and face criminal charges, and the TSA can impose civil penalties. Members of TSA Pre-check can be temporarily or permanently banned from the expedited screening program.
While the TSA’s gun seizures hit a record high last year, the agency screened more than 443 million checked bags and nearly 1.7 billion carry-on bags.
“It is a reminder that passengers should check their personal belongings before arriving at the TSA checkpoint to ensure they do not have any prohibited items in their possession,” TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein said.
The 1,813 guns seized by the TSA in 2013 was up from 1,556 seizures in 2012 and 1,320 in 2011. The agency seized 1,123 guns in 2010, 976 guns in 2009, 926 guns in 2008, 803 guns in 2007 and 821 guns in 2006.
People who want to take their guns to their destinations shouldn’t simply pack them. The TSA’s website, www.tsa.gov, lists agency rules to follow for checking firearms and other weapons. The agency doesn’t list state and local weapons laws, which vary by jurisdiction.
Fake guns aren’t OK, either. The TSA also found more than 1,400 firearm components, replica firearms, stun guns and other “dangerous objects” in carry-on luggage.
Don’t bring firearm replicas through passenger screening. Check them or ship them ahead of time.